How to Get a Credit Card to Charge Off a Balance

A charge off is an accounting term that indicates a business has written off a debt as non-collectible in its accounting records. Credit card companies typically charge off a balance approximately six months after the account becomes delinquent. The credit card company usually turns the account over to a collection agency or attorney after charging off the account. A charged-off credit card does not alleviate your legal responsibility to pay the debt. You can typically get a credit card company to charge off a balance by not making the minimum required payment for an extended period of time.

Stop paying your credit card bill. As long as you make the minimum required payment every month a credit card company will not charge off your account. Also, making sporadic payments will typically prevent a credit card company from charging off your account.

Do not respond to calls and letters from the credit card company. Once you stop paying your credit card and your account becomes delinquent, your credit card issuer will attempt to collect the delinquent balance. By responding to the calls or letters, the creditor will typically keep your account open as an active, in-house collection. To get the company to charge off the account, you need the account to be rated as non-collectible.

Wait for approximately six months. According to the website MSN Money, a lender typically charges off an account approximately six months after it becomes delinquent. This means, in most cases, that if you don't make any payment on the credit card for six months the credit card issuer will charge off the account.


  • If you are unable to pay your credit card debt, you should speak to an attorney about other options you may have including bankruptcy, debt consolidation and renegotiation of your credit card account.


  • Charged-off credit card accounts will adversely effect your credit score. You still have a legal responsibility for the debt even after the account is charged off. Fees, interest and penalties will continue to accrue before, during and after an account is charged off.


About the Author

Since 1992 Matt McGew has provided content for on and offline businesses and publications. Previous work has appeared in the "Los Angeles Times," Travelocity and "GQ Magazine." McGew specializes in search engine optimization and has a Master of Arts in journalism from New York University.